1

What I take away from the whole "Back To The Future is a bunch of bullshit"-conversation, is that the Avengers can't ever "truly" undo the Snap. "When you travel to the past, that past becomes your future" and all that. Sure, they can create a new timeline for themselves by traveling to the past, and then in this new timeline only they can fix everything and bring people back. But by doing so, aren't they just "abandoning" all the people in their original timeline? Basically like rats leaving the sinking ship, the Avengers move to a new happy timeline while people in the original one continue their sad, split-in-half lifes, now additionally having lost their heroes to protect them from possible further threats?

Or am I missing anything?

3
  • Yes, you are missing something. Revisit Hulk's conversation with Ancient One. Returning Infinity Stones destroyed all other timelines.
    – I' Robot
    Nov 16 '20 at 0:49
  • 6
    I think you're simply missing a few shots of tequila or vodka or whatever your favourite libation is. I don't think that any sci-fi story with time travel in it can be 100% self consistent :D
    – Peter M
    Nov 16 '20 at 4:13
  • 1
    @PeterM Haha, thats actually the most convincing answer I've seen so far.
    – MaxD
    Nov 16 '20 at 4:36
11

Yes, you are missing the point, that they do NOT change the past significantly to get to another present... they take something from the past (and later put it back to NOT create other timelines there) to change their own future, that has not happened yet. That is why they can not „undo“ the snap in the past and continue 5 years ago as if it never happened. They can just bring back the snapped people five years later to mitigate the results .The world is still one where half of all living forms were missing for five years...

11
  • 2
    Though as a bonus because Thanos from one of the alternate pasts came to the original timeline that alternate timeline never had a snap. One can assume most characters that died in the original timeline did not in the alternate one. Nov 15 '20 at 9:29
  • @lucasbachmann the alternate timeline that, that Thanos came from is erased so it never has a Snap because it ceased to exist.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 15 '20 at 10:32
  • So the rules are a new timeline is only created if there are "significant" changes made in the past? Probably not, right? Cause his would be a dumber reasoning than I'd have ever expected. What exactly is a significant change and what isn't then? Saving civilians in New York doesn't make a difference?
    – MaxD
    Nov 15 '20 at 16:43
  • @TheLethalCarrot I am not aware of any claim that said the alternate pasts would cease to exist. They made an attempt to not alter the pasts intentionally such that they'd stay like the original. They failed badly at it. There is an alternate timeline with Loki escaping with the space stone too. digitalspy.com/movies/a27463268/… Nov 15 '20 at 20:40
  • 1
    @TheLeathalCarrot Erased refers only to the damage caused by removing a stone from the universe. "If I give up the Time Stone to help your reality I'm dooming my own." ... "The Infinity Stones create what you experience as the flow of time. Remove one of the stones and that flow splits. Now this may benefit your reality, but my new one, not so much. In this new branch of reality, without our chief weapon against the forces of darkness, our world would be overrun, millions will suffer. So tell me doctor, can your science prevent all that?" "No... we can erase it. ...so chronologically, in t Nov 16 '20 at 0:08
3

The way time travel in the MCU works is that the past is unalterable. However, time travel creates a duplicate timeline which branches off. This means paradoxes are impossible. Travel between branches is allowed. A universe needs the infinity stones to work properly, so it is extremely rude and destructive to steal them, unless you put them back right away. The events of Endgame not only reversed the snap by wishing everyone back - it unexpectedly created an alternate timeline without a snap ever happening, because the Thanos from an alternate past was defeated in the original timeline, leaving his timeline free of his destruction. Double win!

Note, Hulk’s comments about time travel don't mention the stones being what causes a branch to form.

Hulk : And secondly, time doesn't work that way. Changing the past doesn't change the future.

Hulk : I don't know why everyone believes that, but that isn't true. Think about it. If you go into the past, that past becomes your future, and your former present becomes the past, which can't now be changed by your new future!

(note regarding the below - the time travel with new events creates a split - the removing of the stone is a big event - but the split already happens from the time travel and just being in the duplicate past. The Ancient One is concerned about her reality being messed up by the stones leaving)

ANCIENT ONE
"If I give up the Time Stone to help your reality I'm dooming my own."

HULK
"With all due respect, alright, I - I'm not sure the science really supports that."

ANCIENT ONE
"The Infinity Stones create what you experience as the flow of time. Remove one of the stones and that flow splits. Now this may benefit your reality, but my new one, not so much. In this new branch of reality, without our chief weapon against the forces of darkness, our world would be overrun, millions will suffer. So tell me doctor, can your science prevent all that?"

HULK
"No... we can erase it. Because once we're done with the stones, we can return each one to its own timeline at the moment it was taken, so chronologically, in that reality, it never left."

Edit: Adding more dialog from the exchange - there is no indication that this alternate timeline will cease to exist when the stone is returned. It is being returned because it would damage an entire alternate universe if not returned - which strikes me as rude. The Ancient Clearly understands that this Hulk is from a future (that is original) timeline and yet she remains concerned about maintaining the branch the discussion is taking place in. Again MCU time travel does not allow the past to be changed. Even just visiting and not doing anything major is a change.

ANCIENT ONE "But you are leaving out the most important part. In order to return the stones, you have to survive."

HULK "We will, I will. I promise."

ANCIENT ONE "I can't risk this reality on a promise. It is the duty of the Sorcerer Supreme to protect the time stone."

0

If you travel back into your own past, that destination becomes your future, and your former present becomes the past, which can't now be changed by your new future. Meaning they just went to an alternate timeline just like the normal one we so in all the films, so when they changed stuff it didn't affect them, it affected them from the other timeline.

1
  • You begin by quoting the Hulk from Endgame and then contradict yourself in the very next sentence.
    – Shreedhar
    Dec 1 '20 at 7:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.